Page 1 of 8 1 2 3 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 71
  1. #1
    Dev Team Fernehalwes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    360

    An Introduction to Dragonspeak

    Greetings!

    I hope you are all enjoying Before the Fall. Wait... Why are you here reading this post and not enjoying Before the Fall!?

    Okay, you’re forgiven. Now on to the post!

    Soon after the release of 2.5 there were some players who noticed differences in the length of dragon lines between the EN and JP versions, so I wanted to use this opportunity to talk a little about Eorzea’s dragons, their language, and how the ancient race has been characterized by the EN Localization team.

    *Extremely minor spoilers ahead*

    As I mentioned in the past, far back before even the original release of 1.0, I was tasked with creating an original language for the dragons of Dravania. The background information I received at that time was that the dragons had lived for several millennia and were highly intelligent, so I set about putting together set of rules that would fit naturally those criteria.

    Firstly, I felt that the language would be fairly economical. Thousands of years of refining would render long words short, would eliminate most of the more complex consonants and compound vowels, and would see the complete disappearance of words with little meaning, or meanings that could be represented by similar terms (goodbye thesauruses!).

    Secondly, as these dragons had lived together for so long and only spoke this language amongst one another, they would have the uncanny ability to anticipate what a speaker was going to say based not only on context, but on a kind of linguistic premonition. Think of it as how after fifty years of marriage, a wife can complete her husband’s sentences for him. The five-decade stockpile of conversations to draw upon has given her a sixth sense, if you will. Now multiply this sense by fifty or a hundred or even more, and you have the dragons. This ability to understand what is going to be said before it is even said, I believed, would affect their language in a way that saw single words taking on multiple meanings. For example, a word like ‘flesh’ could end up being used for ‘blood,’ ‘body,’ ‘corporeal,’ ‘concrete,’ or ‘intercourse’ (the border between nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc being blurred by ages of use). The dragons would know which word was intended based on context, position within a sentence, minute variations in inflection or vowel length, as well as the aforementioned knowledge of past conversations with the speaker.

    So, it is safe to say that while a non-dragon may endeavor to study the dragon language, it would be nearly impossible in their short (compared to a dragon) lifespan to even begin to fully grasp the intricacies of it. And, because of this, the only way a non-dragon would be able to understand a dragon is if the dragon chose to speak in the non-dragon’s language, or the non-dragon was blessed with the power of the Echo.

    When the Echo “translates” for someone, it is a joint effort between the listener’s mind and Hydaelyn’s gift. The gift is providing the knowledge, while the listener’s mind is using its previously compiled linguistic background to compile the data into something more familiar.

    On the other hand, when a dragon speaks in a non-dragon language, it is the dragon himself who is doing the translation, and therefore it is only natural to assume that the resulting target language (in our case Eorzean/English) may somewhat resemble the structure of the dragon’s native tongue—short and concise, but chock-full of meaty ambiguous content.

    The dragon’s knowledge of the target language also comes into play here. A being that has lived several ages in Eorzea will most likely have picked up its Eorzean long ago. Couple that with the fact that the being may not have had much in the way of communication with Eorzeans since then, making it difficult for him to pick up on more modern speech patterns. We felt that to reflect this (and the fact that they are simply very, very old beings), it would be better to give the dragons a slightly more archaic speech pattern, hence the ‘thee’s and ‘thou’s.

    So finally we get to 2.5. In this patch are scenes in which a certain dragon speaks directly with the player. Here, the dragon has chosen to use the tongue of the player rather than his own language. When the EN Localization team received the relatively wordy Japanese lines for this scene, we felt that it would fit the character and his native language better if we localized it in a manner that seemed a natural fit with the dragon language I had created—that being something that was far more compact, but still contained the main core that was in the Japanese. And thus emerged the difference in the length of lines—EN being somewhat shorter than the JP. So fear not, for the content (while slightly jumbled up to accommodate the differences in grammatical flow between Japanese and English) is, for the most part, similar between versions, and Japanese users are not somehow privy to secrets lost to the winds of translation.

    That’s all for today, as I have to get back to Gold Saucer translation. Thank you for making it this far, though. The post ended up being quite longer than I first intended. A dragon could’ve said as much in far less, I suppose... And for those of you crazy lore-fiends who found the post lacking, as we get closer to 3.0 (or maybe right after the launch of 3.0, depending on whether or not I’m given the green light by Yoshi-P), I hope to reveal more info on the dragon language, but until then...

    [S][h]ess fta[h]r a[h]!

    (Please look forward to it!)
    (150)

  2. #2
    Player
    LlenCoram's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Limsa Lominsa
    Posts
    1,593
    Character
    Llen Coram
    World
    Sargatanas
    Main Class
    Fisher Lv 62
    You are my favourite person.
    (37)

  3. #3
    Player
    Anonymoose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Limsa Lominsa
    Posts
    3,954
    Character
    Anony Moose
    World
    Excalibur
    Main Class
    Arcanist Lv 70
    Quote Originally Posted by Fernehalwes View Post
    [S][h]ess fta[h]r a[h]!
    Oh, my gods, lol. I almost hope to hear a dragon say this in the background someday.

    Thanks for the info!
    (19)

  4. #4
    Player
    Clawtooth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Ul'dah
    Posts
    41
    Character
    Lux Felix
    World
    Balmung
    Main Class
    Astrologian Lv 60
    Really good to hear that you took actual linguistic considerations in mind when creating the Dragonspeak language. So often - particularly in fantasy genre literature (and I count Video Games as works of literature but that's another can of worms I'll over another time), constructed languages adhere to no rules about the ways in which we use language and the ways language evolves, and in some cases can actually just end up being complex for complexity's sake rather than following generalisations we know about natural language (which often makes them feel disingenuous) Tolkien's languages are so well remembered because he was a linguist himself and took a great deal of care when creating his constructed languages in Middle Earth, for example. In particular I'm very interested in the roles of prosody and pragmatic implicature in Dragonspeak, as those are the least overt parts of language and are of particular academic interest to me .

    I was also very interested to hear the part about Echo translation - what it sounds like the Echo does is Hydaelyn strips down the input from the collocuter into raw semantic/pragmatic meanings without the layer of structure (syntax/morphology/phonology/phonetics/prosody-ish sometimes) and then allows the person with the Echo to reconstitute it into their on language. It's certainly a very efficient method of translation that would be near perfect.

    Another great language post Ferne I hope to see more soon.

    P.S. on the message in Dragonspeak at the end ... I'm assuming that the []'s mean something other than phonetic transcription lol ... setting with a linguist's eyes as usual. The resemblence to the English "See forward 'demonstrative'" is uncanny.
    (3)
    Last edited by Clawtooth; 01-22-2015 at 12:33 PM.

  5. #5
    Player Kaiser-Ace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Gridania
    Posts
    1,966
    Character
    Chris Magnus
    World
    Balmung
    Main Class
    Dragoon Lv 60
    I kinda view Echo as "Soul Speak" since Echo was considered one of the Archaic Psycic powers derived from sorcery.

    Echo as an ability (Which most of what the power is in literature, myth, and general fiction was carried over just with it's own name) allows the user's soul to comunicate with the souls of others. If two people with the Echo were using it at the same time then it would be impossible to keep secrets from each other. Thus how the echo is not limited to "Language Barriers" since it's translating the soul's intent and emotions into words via what can basically be explained as telepathy.

    So yea Echo= Soul Speak which allows you to "Hear" the soul of the other person thus the ultimate Deus Ex Machina power for rendering Language Barriers irrelevent in fiction.
    (0)

  6. #6
    Player
    Aphel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    239
    Character
    Moon Kibbles
    World
    Tonberry
    Main Class
    Machinist Lv 60
    This is pretty insightful. I'm impressed with the amount of thought/effort you guys put into lore to create such a believable world.
    (3)

  7. #7
    Player
    Karen_Cerfrumos's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    154
    Character
    Ariun Qualli
    World
    Gilgamesh
    Main Class
    Machinist Lv 60
    While I definitely appreciate the thought that went into characterizing the race of dragons, I can't help but feel that at the end of the day, there's a palpable discrepancy in how the Japanese writing team decided to represent the character of Midgardsormr and how he's written in English, to the point where impression of him as a character I got from looking up the Japanese dialogue is at a stark contrast with the impression English players on this very forum got from him.
    (17)

  8. #8
    Player
    PapaSteel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Ul'Dah
    Posts
    249
    Character
    Papa Steel
    World
    Behemoth
    Main Class
    Armorer Lv 60
    Wait... Why are you here reading this post and not enjoying Before the Fall!?
    Ferny, this is the LORE NERD forum - we can read and enjoy at the same time!

    I appreciate the insight into how the dravanian language functions. Even if I share Karen's concerns, above, seeing how much thought is poured into such simple and often-forgotten aspects of the game is why I keep playing. Always a pleasure to hear from you!
    (2)

    http://onionfc.com

  9. #9
    Player
    Balipu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Gridania
    Posts
    1,690
    Character
    Balipu Nakamu
    World
    Phoenix
    Main Class
    Rogue Lv 70
    Ohohooo, my linguist degree in the drawer just squeeled in delight. If I manage to learn japanese can I work with you?
    (0)

  10. #10
    Player
    Grayve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Limsa Lominsa
    Posts
    572
    Character
    Moengohta Sylgraebwyn
    World
    Balmung
    Main Class
    Dark Knight Lv 70
    Quote Originally Posted by Karen_Cerfrumos View Post
    While I definitely appreciate the thought that went into characterizing the race of dragons, I can't help but feel that at the end of the day, there's a palpable discrepancy in how the Japanese writing team decided to represent the character of Midgardsormr and how he's written in English, to the point where impression of him as a character I got from looking up the Japanese dialogue is at a stark contrast with the impression English players on this very forum got from him.
    Oh? How so? Should we examine all four languages to get a better picture?
    (0)

Page 1 of 8 1 2 3 ... LastLast